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Name:  Rajiv S Gowda
Office Sought: New York State Senate District 23
Party Affiliation(s): Democrat
Age: 61
Education: BSCE
Occupation/Employer: Civil/Env. Engineer
Previous Offices, Campaigns and Community/Civic Involvement:

Community Board Membership:

  • 2001- 2009 Member, Community Board #1, and Staten Island
  • 2003 – 2004 Chair, Waterfront Committee, Community Board #1
  • 2005 – 2007 Chair, Transportation Committee, Community Board #1
  • Union Office Elected:
  • 1998 – 2000 1st  Vice President, Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375, DC 37
  • 1991 – 2014 Delegate to Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375
  • 1999 – 2000 Founding Member & Chairperson, West-Indian American Parade Committee, DC 37
  • 1998 – 2006 Delegate to District Council 37, AFSCME
  • 1998 – 2009 Delegate to Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Public Offices Elected:
  • 2004 – 2005 Council Member, Community Education Council District 31, Staten Island
  • 2005 – 2006 1st Vice President, Community Education Council, District 31, Staten Island
  • 2006 – 2007 President, Community Education Council, District 31, Staten Island
  • 2005 – 2014 County Committee Member, Assembly District 61, Democratic Committee of Richmond County, Staten Island




Please state whether you support or oppose the following reform measures. If you wish to elaborate on your answers, you may do so in the provided space at the bottom of this page.



  1. Replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and the Legislative Ethics Commission with an effective and independent enforcement body (S594A/A1282A).
  1. Limit outside compensation earned by state legislators and statewide officials to 25% of their salaries and eliminate stipends.


Elections and Voting

  1. Do you support or oppose the following changes to the state’s current registration and voting system?
    1. No-excuse absentee voting (second passage of constitutional amendment)
    2. Election Day voter registration (second passage of constitutional amendment)
    3. Re-enfranchisement of people on parole automatically through legislation, without requiring a Certificate of Good Conduct or Relief
    4. Automatic voter registration, unless the potential voter opts out
    5. Mandating poll sites on college campuses
  1. Reform the special election process, utilizing a nonpartisan special election for state legislative seats and eliminate delays in filling vacancies.
  1. Reduce the vote threshold to become a registered party back to 50,000 votes and keep the gubernatorial election as the qualifying election, and reduce the petition requirement for independent candidates back to 15,000 signatures.


Campaign Finance

  1. Amend the state’s public campaign financing system, approved in the 2021 budget, by
    1. Drastically reduce campaign contribution limits
    2. Set even lower contribution limits for registered lobbyists and those who do business with the state
    3. Move the campaign finance matching program to be administered by an independent, nonpartisan body outside of the NY Board of Election
    4. Simplify the matching system by making both in- and out-of-district donations eligible and by eliminating the three different tiers for matching


Budget Process

  1. Require full disclosure of grants and contracts issued by the state, including the budget lines from which the spending is made and reporting on the results of each grant or contract over a certain amount.
  1. Provide for effective online disclosure and itemization of spending from elected officials’ lump sum appropriations, including reporting on potential conflicts of interest and how the funds are spent.


Police Accountability

  1. Repeal Civil Rights Law, Sec. 50-a, which shields from public view the disciplinary records of police officers, correction officers, and firefighters.


Election Administration

  1. Restructure the state Board of Elections to abolish the strict two-party division of governance and operation and put in place professional, nonpartisan administration.
  1. Empower the attorney general to investigate and prosecute election law malfeasance and cases of public corruption.


Home Rule

  1. Make mayoral control of city schools permanent, with a governance system that provides for accountability, transparency, parent engagement, and democratic participation.


Court Reform

  1. Simplify and consolidate New York State’s court system by passing the Chief Judge’s proposed constitutional amendment to modernize the courts.

If needed, you may elaborate below on your positions on the previous questions. You may also provide additional information on any actions that you have taken or plan to take to advance your positions on these issues.



Government under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. Adopt technological solutions and provisions that will allow the New York State legislature to convene and vote remotely if needed.
  1. Provide public access to observe and participate in government proceedings, in meetings that would be public under the New York Open Meetings Law, via live and recorded video available on government websites.
  1. Implement immediate programs to facilitate absentee voting for all New York voters as long as the widespread contagion risk of COVID-19 continues, under current state constitutional limitations. This includes electronic submission of absentee ballot applications without a wet signature and a public information campaign.
  1. What are your concerns regarding the use of emergency powers during this crisis, and how do you think NY government can maintain public accountability standards at this time?
    I believe the Governor has made many correct steps in our response to this pandemic. All I would ask of him is to be stronger in his stance with the Federal Government. New York needs more money, period.


Serving the public under the COVID-19 outbreak

  1. What are the biggest challenges in your district in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?
    As this COVID-19 pandemic has blatantly revealed to us, we need to appropriately fund certain basic essential programs, and ensure that nothing interferes with them. Our public health services must be properly funded and, if elected, I will advance this noble agenda.
  1. What are the appropriate roles of city, state, and federal governments in a crisis such as this?
    Be upfront and honest with American people. Thanking is great but it is time to put money in their wallet to make them survive the crisis. What good is the richest city/state/country without having the capacity to provide PPE and healthcare to all? Listen to experts, scientists, and follow.
  1. How will you help your future constituents, residents and businesses, access potential funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or any other future government relief funds?
    I will fund to create an App dedicated to the District #23 for residents to download into their mobile phones to know the various activities and issues important to them and directly contact my staff to address them.



What are the top five promises you are making to the voters during the campaign?

Campaign Promise 1
As this COVID-19 pandemic has blatantly revealed to us, we need to appropriately fund certain basic essential programs, and ensure that nothing interferes with them. Our public health services must be properly funded and, if elected, I will advance this noble agenda. Northshore has been ravaged by the opioid crisis. I will fight for funding to address this issue, provide facilities with counselors for those affected, and work to clean up our streets so that we may stem the growing number of overdose deaths.

Campaign Promise 2
I will advocate for the money rightfully owed to this district and NY City by New York State, to fund our schools, improve school safety, stop bullying, and employ a “walk to school program.

and obtain additional funding for more vocational schools

Campaign Promise 3
Address the congestion plaguing the BQE, reactivate the North Shore Rail Line, extend Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to Staten Island, start a ferry service between Staten Island and Brooklyn and build Bus Rapid Transit in Brooklyn and Staten Island

Campaign Promise 4
New York Housing Authority, School Construction Authority, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are controlled by the State. For a long time, these institutions lack transparency and accountability. As Senator, I will put forward legislation to reform these authorities and increase transparency.

Campaign Promise 5
Climate change is real and is getting worse year after year. New York State must adopt environmental justice and increase sustainability, we need resilient programs to protect us.

Harvesting power through wind, solar, natural gas, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels must be the goal. I will fight for investing in green infrastructure to help us sustain and create green jobs.



Citizens Union believes that all New Yorkers deserve to be represented by officials who work for the public interest and honor the public trust. With the corruption conviction of recent legislative leaders, we seek to endorse a candidate who will demonstrate that she/he will honor the full commitment of the oath of office, and always represent the public interest above all else.

Please tell us how you have and would continue to conduct the political affairs of this office in an upright manner, and maintain the public trust.
We must do everything to end the corruption in New York State Government. We have seen enough Lawmakers led away in handcuffs and it is time to stop corruption. In my 25+ years of public service, I have put public interest above all and served the people of our great city as a labor leader, education council president, community board member.

I have vowed not to accept money from corporate PACS, special interest groups, and real estate developers. I pledge to uphold core Democratic values and to act in accordance with those values and always put the public interest above all.

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